Re: poly: war: organized theft

From: Damien R. Sullivan <>
Date: Mon Jun 08 1998 - 16:02:07 PDT

On Jun 8, 3:47pm, "Richard Schroeppel" wrote:

> I think it's worth considering the (distasteful) hypothesis that
> war is profitable, on average, for the people doing it.

Wouldn't it depend on who you're fighting? Invading lower tech or
unorganized areas has lower costs than fighting an equal. It's hard to
believe that most European wars were profitable for the countries, although
presumably they kept the upper class engaged. But colonizing South Africa was
a plus for the Afrikaaners.

Caveat: economic efficiency means doing better than your other opportunities,
which themselves may well be profitable in an accounting sense. This is
rather hard to measure. I could see European wars being profitable, but not
as much so as trade would have been. I doubt that being thoroughly civilized
and polite to the Amerinds would have profited Europeans any more than the way
history ran. But we can't do a proper test, and I don't know if there are any
analogous situations one can point to for comparison. Certainly not at the
scale of the Americas.

> It ain't nice, but it's worth thinking about.
What brought it up?

-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-)

"No, life is not fair. Not intrinsically. It's something we can try to
make it, though. A goal we can aim for. You can choose to do so, or
not. We have. I'm sorry you find us so repulsive for that."
 -- _Player of Games_
Received on Mon Jun 8 23:22:12 1998

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